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Cameroon: Far North Region Bans Burka, Face-Covering Veils

(July 22, 2015) It was reported on July 17, 2015, that Cameroon’s Far North Region instituted a ban on July 15 against women wearing burkas (a covering for the face and the whole body) and veils that cover the face. The ban comes in the aftermath of two suicide bombings, said to have been instigated […]

Egypt: Court Dismisses Petition to Dissolve Religious Party

(July 8, 2015) On July 5, 2015, the Parties Court, which has recently been formed within the Supreme Administrative Court, dismissed a petition to dissolve the Al Nour Party because of its religious basis. (Mahmoud Mostafa, Court Rejects Al Nour Party’s Dissolution, DAILY NEWS (July 5, 2015).) A petition submitted to the Court by one […]

Indonesia: Court Rejects Two Challenges to Marriage Act

(June 25, 2015) On June 18, 2015, the Indonesian Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi) released its decisions on two petitions for judicial review of Law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage (Marriage Law). (Undang-undang Nomor 1 Tahun 1974 Tentang Perkawinan, Ministry of Religious Affairs website,(in Indonesian); Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 1 of the […]

Indonesia: Law Proposed to Protect Religious Minorities

(June 11, 2015) Indonesia’s government has proposed a law on the protection of religious minorities. It is currently listed as in committee with the legislature, the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat. (Rancangan Undang-Undang Tentang Perlindungan Umat Beragama [Draft Law on the Protection of Religious Communities], Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat website (last visited June 8, 2015).) While some leaders […]

Tajikistan: ISIS Recognized as Terrorist Organization

(June 8, 2015) On May 29, 2015, Central Asian and Russian news agencies reported that the Supreme Court of Tajikistan has recognized the organization Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as a terrorist group and banned its activities in Tajik territory. This decision allows Tajik authorities to prosecute anyone accused of association with ISIS […]

Egypt: State Litigation Authority Rejects Request to Suspend a TV Show

(May 22, 2015) On May 19, 2015, Egypt’s State Litigation Authority rejected a petition submitted by Al Azhar (the main religious institution in Egypt) to suspend a television program. The petition accused the show’s host of deliberately criticizing religious symbols and influencing Muslims to doubt their beliefs. (A Memo of the State Litigation Authority Rejects […]

Turkmenistan: Pardoning of Conscientious Objectors and Military Service Law Amendments

(Mar. 23, 2015) In February 2015, Forum 18 News Service published a report saying that for the first time for many years, “there are no longer any Jehovah’s Witnesses convicted and imprisoned in Turkmenistan as conscientious objectors.” (Felix Corley, Turkmenistan: Two Amnestied Prisoners, Conscientious Objector in Hospital, Beaten “Wahhabis,” FORUM 18 NEWS SERVICE (Feb. 18, […]

Russia: Bill Approved to Allow Foreign Organizations to Be Declared Undesirable

(Feb. 24, 2015) On January 20, 2015, the State Duma of the Russian Federation (the lower chamber of the legislature) approved on the first reading a draft law that amends several legislative acts regulating the activities of foreign and international organizations working in Russia, including religious ones. (Bill No. 662902-6, Russian legislative database (in Russian) […]

Russia: Registered Clergy May Be Allowed to Meet with Prisoners

(Jan. 6, 2015) On December 9, 2014, the State Duma of the Russian Federation (lower chamber of the legislature) approved on the first reading legislation that amends the country’s Correctional Code to allow prisoners to communicate with members of the clergy. (Bill No. 614607-6, Duma legislative database (Dec. 9, 2014).) If passed, the law will […]

China: Designation of Sanctioned Places of Worship in Online Database

(Dec. 30, 2014) On December 26, 2014, at a national conference on religious work, Wang Zuoan, the director of China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), announced that SARA will make public a list of officially registered Buddhist and Taoist worship venues, by means of a government-created online database. The purpose of disseminating the list […]